Monday, March 30, 2009

A Day in Santiago

Day 5: Puerto Plata. Greetings to everyone back home. We awoke at an earlier than usual time this morning, but as I headed down the outdoor path from our rooms down to the kitchen, I couldn't help but stop and admire the beautiful sunrise over the ocean. God is truly amazing. There are some advantages to being up a little earlier!

The bus ride to Santiago, the Dominican Republic's second largest city, took about an hour and a half. Our first stop was El Colegio Evangelico de Jacagua, a Christian high school of about a hundred students, where we had the opportunity to interact with the seniors and learn about them and their school. We brought them clothing and school supplies that we had collected, and eventually, we split into two groups. Our music group went from class to class, freshmen through seniors, and performed songs for them as well as a skit portraying God's forgiveness. Meanwhile, others went outside and helped paint the school's chapel building, which was due for a fresh coat.

God has truly been using us to bring smiles to people's faces and to share His love with them on this trip, but this afternoon in particular was a special occasion. During lunch time, two unsaved girls named Carolina and Anyse began talking with Mrs. Bonorandi; they seemed to show curiosity and interest in communicating with her. Ultimately, Mrs. B. shared the gospel with them, and they accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior! She spent the remainder of our time at the school with them, meeting with their families and visiting their homes nearby. Mrs. B. plans to follow up with them; they traded e-mail addresses, and plans are already in the works for one of them possibly visiting South Florida in the summer. We also visited with some local residents of the small village near the school, learning some more about their culture and customs.

The remainder of afternoon was spent at a hospital in downtown Santiago. There we visited with injured children, bringing them clothing and toys as well as sharing gospel tracts with their parents. It was definitely an eye-opening experience that was difficult for some, but the patients and their families were grateful for our generosity and care.

Yet another long ride home back to Puerto Plata had many of us at least trying to catch up on some sleep, but many of us are looking forward to doing some more of that tonight. We enjoyed dinner here at the mission house, and we even had the opportunity to visit a neat beach house down the street for dessert. All I can say is that if you've never had deep fried Milky Way bars with ice cream, you should definitely try it. (Please forgive me, Mrs. Wenzel.) We want to send our regards to all of our classmates back home--we miss you! Ben, we are continuing to pray for a speedy recovery, and we look forward to seeing you all soon. Once again, thank you to everyone back home who has continued to support us and pray for us; we appreciate it! We are experiencing some technical difficulties with uploading pictures, but we hope to upload some tomorrow. Good night from Puerto Plata!

Posted by: Steven Gallo